Last Updated: Feb 02, 2013
Horseback riding is one of the most popular activities in Costa Rica. Whether you want to gallop down the beach or amble along backcountry roads, there are many professional outfits offering tours for riders of all abilities. Most tours are half-day excursions, but the adventurous can arrange multi-day trips where a variety of terrains are explored.
The province of Guanacaste is known as cowboy country. Extensive cattle and horse ranches with open plains and forested trails offer perfect spots for a leisurely ride or spirited gallop. The area around Rincon de La Vieja National Park boasts wonderful horseback riding, with trips to hot springs, waterfalls and bubbling mud pots. Beginner and seasoned riders can arrange horseback excursions near the beach towns of Tamarindo and Flamingo. Popular trips visit surrounding hills and pastures. Gallops along the Nicoya Peninsula beaches of Montezuma shouldn't be missed!
Beaches, waterfalls and rainforests make up most of the central Pacific’s horseback riding tours. Quepos and Manuel Antonio have a variety of half-day and multi-day trips to secluded waterfalls and coffee plantations. In the beach town of Jaco, riders can discover backcountry roads and natural springs on a guided tour. Half or full-day excursions are available, and horses are matched to rider according to ability.
Northern Zone and Monteverde
There are many beautiful places to see in the mountainous areas of Monteverde and Arenal. Several tours pass through guava farms and coffee plantations, traversing rivers and scenic valleys. Sunset tours offer breathtaking views of the Gulf of Nicoya. Arenal is an agricultural town and several horse ranches provide excursions to the La Fortuna Waterfall and Arenal Volcano. Some outfits feature full-day horseback excursions from the cloud forest town of Monteverde to Arenal and vice versa) while your luggage is transported by car to your destination hotel.
Helpful Hints: Be prepared to ride in the rain and wear boots (or tennis shoes) and long pants. Most companies provide large ponchos on tours. A hat is helpful for sunny and rainy days. Tours can be arranged with local tour companies, but be wary of outfits offering dirt-cheap prices; they will often use horses that are overworked and underfed.